The Belgariad


The Belgariad

The Belgariad is a five-book fantasy epic written by David Eddings.

The series tells the story of the recovery of the Orb of Aldur and coming of age of Garion, an orphaned farmboy. Garion is accompanied by his aunt Polgara and grandfather Belgarath as they try to fulfill an ancient prophecy that will decide the fate of the universe. Along the way, various "instruments", or helpers, of the prophecy join their quest to recover the orb, and Garion discovers his true identity and destiny.

Contents

Works in the series

Volumes include:

  1. Pawn of Prophecy (1982)
  2. Queen of Sorcery (1982)
  3. Magician's Gambit (1983)
  4. Castle of Wizardry (1984)
  5. Enchanters' End Game (1984)

The title of each book combines a chess term with a fantasy term. The concept of a Game of Destiny is a significant motif in the story. The series has been reprinted as a two-volume set, titled The Belgariad Volume One, containing the first three books of the series, and The Belgariad Volume Two, which contains the last two books. This does not include the original map in Pawn of Prophecy by Chris Barbieri, but only Shelly Shapiro's map.

The Malloreon is a five-book sequel that continues the story started in the Belgariad. Belgarath the Sorcerer (1995) and Polgara the Sorceress (1997) are prequels that share the setting and most characters. The Rivan Codex (1998) features annotated background material.

Pawn of Prophecy

Pawn of Prophecy  
Pawn of Prophecy cover.jpg
Pawn of Prophecy cover
Author(s) David Eddings
Country United States
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date 1982
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 258 pp (paperback)
ISBN 0-345-33551-1
OCLC Number 26344694
Preceded by none
Followed by Queen of Sorcery

The book opens with a brief prologue concerning past events, beginning with the creation of the world by seven gods. One of the seven, Aldur, fashions an orb from stone and creates within it a living soul. This orb becomes known as the Orb of Aldur. One of the other gods, Torak, forcibly takes the Orb from Aldur and tries to make the magical stone submit to his will. The Orb retaliates, burning and maiming Torak throughout the left side of his body, and burning out his left eye. The Orb of Aldur is later recovered by Belgarath the Sorcerer, King Cherek, and his children. Cherek's youngest son Riva, the only one without ill intent in soul,(although Belgarath later tells people in his own story that it was just anyone who could pick up the orb, but the family line of whoever picked it up would have to protect the orb forever, the ill-intent was thrown in for some embelishment) is able to hold the Orb without being consumed by its fire; thus all of his descendants are responsible for guarding the Orb, during which time Torak will not prevail and have dominion over the world.

The story then begins in earnest with descriptions of the experiences of a boy named Garion, who is being raised on a large, prosperous farm. It tells of his earliest memories in the kitchen of his Aunt Pol; and describes how he meets Durnik the blacksmith, Garion's early games and friends, and something of the romance between himself and local girl Zubrette. It also introduces his contact with "the Story-teller" who, unknown to Garion, happens to be Belgarath himself; Garion's vision of a man robed in black who casts no shadow, later known as Asharak; Chamdar; and a "dry voice" that speaks in his mind which appear to be separate from his own consciousness. The reader later discovers that this is the Voice of Prophecy, or "Necessity" which occasionally talks to Garion, and even takes action through him.

When the storyteller, also known as "Mister Wolf" (a name given early on by Garion), arrives with news of the theft of a mysterious object by a thief whom no-one will name, Mister Wolf and Aunt Pol leave Faldor's farm to chase him down, reluctantly allowing Durnik to accompany them. Garion, Aunt Pol, Durnik, and Mister Wolf are joined later by Silk/Kheldar, a Drasnian prince, spy, and thief, and by Barak, a Cherek warrior and Earl of Trellheim famous for his immense size, love of ale, and unmatched prowess in battle. Garion finds himself in the company of these diverse and mysterious companions, visiting several cities as Mister Wolf follows an invisible trail of the thing that was taken. Eventually he and his companions are arrested and taken to a meeting of monarchs.

After being introduced to the kings, Aunt Pol and Belgarath spend most of their time in council with the kings, leaving Garion more or less on his own. Garion begins to have doubts about his actual relation to Aunt Pol, whom he ultimately discovers is the 4000-year-old sorceress Polgara, and that Mister Wolf is her father, the 7000-year-old sorcerer Belgarath. This causes some tension between Garion and Pol until it is resolved at the end of the book.

While roaming in the palace at Val Alorn, Garion sees a green-cloaked man act suspiciously, but does not tell anyone of this. A few days pass and Barak decides to go wild boar hunting in the nearby forests. Against Aunt Pol's advice, Garion also goes. While in the forest Garion chances on a meeting between the green cloaked man mentioned earlier and another man about trying to spy on the current meeting between the kings of Aloria. Before Garion can tell anyone he is attacked by a wild boar, luckily killing it but becoming injured and unconscious in the process.

Garion proves himself uniquely useful through all of this and shows his great potential by revealing to the Monarchs the presence of the green-cloaked spy, who is shown to be connected to a traitorous noble. Moments later, this noble and his men attack the castle from within, but are defeated. Garion himself is almost captured, but escapes. Later, he and the other protagonists leave again in search of the Orb, taking an Algarian prince named Hettar with them. As they leave, Garion learns that Polgara is the sister of his most distant female ancestor (identified in the prologue as Queen Beldaran, wife of Riva), justifying her claim to be his aunt. Having learned this, Garion embraces Belgarath as his grandfather and addresses him as such throughout later books.

Queen of Sorcery

Queen of Sorcery  
Queen of Sorcery cover.JPG
Queen of Sorcery cover
Author(s) David Eddings
Country USA
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date 1983
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 327 (paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-32389-0
Preceded by Pawn of Prophecy
Followed by Magician's Gambit

The story continues as Belgarion and his companions chase after the stolen Orb of Aldur. Along the way, they are joined by three more companions while traveling through Arendia: these are Hettar, an Algar warrior who has telepathic contact with horses; the Mimbrate Knight Mandorallen; and the Asturian archer Lelldorin. Garion develops a strong friendship with Lelldorin after traveling with him.

During the travels through Arendia, Lelldorin is badly injured in battle and is forced to leave the group of companions. There, Garion exposes a plot to kill King Korodullin that the perpetrator of it was a Murgo Ambassador named Nachak, while he keeps Lelldorin's involvement to the plot. After Arendia the companions travel to Tolnedra, seeking audience with the Emperor Ran Borune XXIII. Whilst in the imperial palace, Garion meets the imperial Princess Ce'Nedra, who is seen throwing a tantrum at her father for limiting her freedom to leave the palace due to fears for her safety. Upon leaving the capital, the group once again encounter an ineffectually disguised Princess Ce'Nedra, who has tricked her tutor into helping her escape the Imperial Palace. When first met by the companions Ce'Nedra is selfish, difficult, and almost intolerable because she demands to be treated "like a princess". Eventually she learns to grow out of this behavior and joins the companions on their quest.

In an encounter in the Wood of the Dryads, Ce'Nedra reveals that she is part Dryad through her mother's heritage. It is here that Garion discovers his connection with the power of the Will and the Word; an ability to focus his intention, releasing it by the utterance of words, to the extent that he affects physical reality. This is done in an encounter with Chamdar, a Grolim high priest who has been posing as a Murgo merchant named Asharak. He slaps Polgara, causing Garion to instinctively use his power for the first time, reacting in rage and killing Asharak by unexpectedly burning him to death, having learned that Chamdar is the man who killed his parents by setting fire to their home and imprisoning them inside. We discover that he is also the man with no shadow mentioned in the previous books. Now that Garion has unleashed the hidden power within him, Polgara reveals that his true name is Belgarion, and that once used, the power will never leave him. Garion, afraid he is no longer the same person he always thought he was, rejects the power and vows never to use it again.

Garion, still feeling rebellious, is later kidnapped when traveling through Nyissa by the Nyissan Queen Salmissra, who drugs him and tries to seduce him; the "dry voice" in his head holds off the queen's attempts until he is rescued by Polgara the Sorceress and Barak, who has assumed the form of a large bear. As retribution Polgara transforms Salmissra into an immortal snake. Barak's transformation is not explained until the Epilogue to Enchanters' End Game, during which it is revealed that Barak is Garion's hereditary protector, the Dreadful Bear.

Magician's Gambit

Magician's Gambit  
Magician's Gambit cover.JPG
Magician's Gambit cover
Author(s) David Eddings
Country USA
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date 1983
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 320 (paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-32731-4
Preceded by Queen of Sorcery
Followed by Castle of Wizardry

In the third book of the series, after learning that the evil Angarak sorcerer Ctuchik has stolen the Orb from the Apostate Zedar, Belgarion and friends go after him. They first take a detour to the Vale of Aldur. In a cave on the way, Garion brings a dead colt (whose birth he had helped assist with minutes before) back to life. This event is of great significance as both Polgara and Belgarath maintain that before this, it was dangerous to use the Will and the Word to restore life to the dead, for this risked the life force of the one attempting it. To save time the group passes through the haunted land of Maragor, home of the Marags. Belgarath tells the company of how Maragor became haunted; because it is full of gold, the Tolnedran merchants had urged their Emperor to attempt forcing the self-sufficient Marags to participate in trade. When the Marags refused, the merchants started spreading (partly true) stories of the Marags being cannibals. The Tolnedrans invaded Maragor a short time later, slaughtered most of the peace-loving race, sold the survivors to the Murgos as slaves, and planned to take the abandoned gold for themselves. When the gold hunters invaded, Mara (the God of the Marags) unleashed ghosts of the lost people onto them, driving them and anyone who entered thereafter insane. In an effort to appease Mara's vengeful spirit, the Tolnedran Emperor set up a monastery at Mar Terrin, where Tolnedran monks carry out eternal penance for the slaughtered Marag race. As the protagonists move into the haunted plains, Mara can be heard weeping over the death of his people. Belgarath and Polgara therefore join their Wills to blanket the group into a waking slumber in an effort to protect their minds against the horrors of Maragor's ghost attacks. When they reach the center of the ruins Mara appears and senses Ce'Nedra, a Tolnedran and one of the race that destroyed his people, and in outrage he attempts to wake her up and drive her insane. The 'other awareness' in Garion's mind steps in and prevents Mara from harming Ce'Nedra, whereupon Mara recognizes it as the Voice of the Prophecy and relents, fleeing from its command. Afterwards Garion informs Belgarath and Polgara of his awareness of the other Voice in his mind.

While in the Vale of Aldur, Garion learns more about his powers. The group enters Ulgoland, and, after some dispute, recruits an Ulgo zealot named Relg to serve as a guide to Cthol Murgos, as they find out Relg has the ability to move his body through solid rock. Ce'Nedra is reluctantly left behind as a guest of Ulgo and the Gorim, because the Ulgo god UL warns that if she enters the city of the Murgos, she will die. Ce'Nedra obeys the will of UL, yet is shocked to realize that her initial refusal to remain behind was the knowledge that she would miss Garion.

Belgarion and friends enter the city of the Murgos and infiltrate Ctuchik's headquarters. Belgarath and Ctuchik fight an epic battle that ends with Ctuchik's destruction as he attempts to will the Orb out of existence. The group escapes, taking the now unconscious Belgarath, a boy later nicknamed Errand, who carries the Orb unharmed, and an escaped slave named Taiba, a beautiful woman who reveals that she is a descendant of the original Marag prisoners whom the Tolnedran warriors had sold into slavery.

Castle of Wizardry

Castle of Wizardry  
Castle of Wizardry cover.JPG
Castle of Wizardry cover
Author(s) David Eddings
Country USA
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date 1984
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 416 (paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-30080-7
Preceded by Magician's Gambit
Followed by Enchanters' End Game

The fourth book of the series starts when the role of leader is thrust upon Garion for the first time when Belgarath and Polgara are incapacitated, the former by his battle with Ctuchik and the latter by maintaining a shield to protect the innocent boy Errand, as they escape. Garion destroys the focal point of the power of the Hierarchs of Rak Cthol in retaliation for an attack upon Durnik. With Errand continuously trying to give the Orb of Aldur to everyone in the company (its donation being the source of his name), they return to Ulgo for Ce'Nedra and eventually reach the Isle of the Winds.

At Riva, on his sixteenth birthday, which falls during the Erastide (the winter solstice festival), Belgarion is led by Belgarath, Polgara, and the Voice of the Prophecy to accept the Orb of Aldur from Errand in the Hall of the Rivan King, where the ancient Sword rests above the Rivan Throne. In Garion's hands, the Orb glows with bright blue fire; placing it on the pommel, he is able to grasp the fiery Sword, revealing to all that he is the long-lost heir to the throne. This revelation infuriates Ce'Nedra, because the Accords of Vo Mimbre state that she must submit to the Rivan King on her sixteenth birthday to be betrothed. It is also here that Garion, aided by the Voice of the Prophecy, is able to see each member of the quest for the Orb as the Instruments of Prophecy each had been destined to become.

Shortly after the betrothal, Garion learns from the Mrin and Darine Codex Prophecies that the Rivan King must slay the god Torak or be slain himself. Belgarion, Belgarath and Silk set out on their own to fight Torak, leaving only a note to Polgara and Ce'Nedra with instructions not to pursue them. They sneak off in the night, Garion taking the Sword of the Rivan King with him. Ce'Nedra irrationally assumes she has been jilted by Garion, while Polgara knows what the actual reason for the departure is, and goes into a rage, destroying her apartment and causing a titanic thunderstorm overhead.

After much sulking, Ce'Nedra finally learns that Garion has left to meet Torak in a fight to the death. Frightened that she has lost the chance to tell Garion of her true affection for him, Ce'Nedra overhears a conference of the Alorn kings and decides to assist them with their plan to raise an army to distract the Angaraks from Garion's quest so that he may reach Cthol Mishrak safely and destroy Torak.

Ce'Nedra proves herself and lives up to her role in the Prophecy by donning armor and traveling through the cities of Arendia, where she begins giving rousing speeches to the Arends, convincing them to lend their support to the Army of the Overlord of the West. By the time she crosses into Tolnedra, every able-bodied Arend has been inspired to join her army. The book ends with Ce'Nedra and her army marching east, knowing full well that her invasion is only a diversion to help Garion, Silk, and Belgarath sneak into Cthol Mishrak and serves no other purpose.

Enchanters' End Game

Enchanters' End Game  
Enchanter's End Game cover.JPG
Enchanter's End Game cover
Author(s) David Eddings
Country USA
Language English
Series The Belgariad
Genre(s) Fantasy
Publisher Del Rey Books
Publication date 1984
Media type Hardcover, Paperback
Pages 384 (paperback)
ISBN ISBN 0-345-30078-5
Preceded by Castle of Wizardry
Followed by The Malloreon (Guardians of the West)

The final book of the series starts with Belgarion, Silk and Belgarath sneaking through Gar og Nadrak, and despite a few incidents (such as being captured into the Nadrak army at one point), finally reaches the land-bridge and crosses into Mallorea. Garion is tempted by Torak to accept him as a father and Polgara as his mother, but he loudly rejects Torak and manages to reach Cthol Mishrak unchallenged.

Ce'Nedra's plan is less successful. Despite a victory at Thull Mardu, she, Polgara, Durnik, and Errand are captured by Mallorean forces and taken to Kal Zakath, who gives them to Zedar. This is particularly disastrous because Torak wishes for Polgara to be his bride; with the self-confidence her love would give Torak, his strength would become such that the Rivan King would be unable to stop him. Polgara reveals that the Mallorean Prophecies name her as Torak's destined Bride, and that her strength in resisting Torak's call may decide Belgarion's outcome. With Kal Zakath's private armed escort, Polgara, Ce'Nedra, Durnik, Errand, and Zedar reach Cthol Mishrak before Garion, Silk, and Belgarath arrive.

Inside Cthol Mishrak, Zedar takes his prisoners to Torak's tomb. Garion, Silk, and Belgarath sneak into the iron tower and down a flight of steps, arriving at the crypt door, where they hear the voices of Zedar and Polgara inside. The three listening outside hear Zedar insult Polgara, then the sounds of Durnik charging Zedar. Belgarath blasts the door open as Zedar kills Durnik. Belgarath, enraged, battles Zedar, sealing him alive inside the stone deep underground. Torak revives, and attempts to sway Polgara to join him, but Garion sends images of Durnik into her mind, thereby helping her to withstand Torak's call. He then turns to Garion in anger. A titanic final battle ensues, during which Garion and Torak swell into immensity. Garion again rejects the God of Angarak, slaying his corporeal form with the Sword of the Rivan King and thereby vanquishing him forever. Torak, in his final—and most ultimately human—act, cries out "Mother!" as he dies. Belgarath explains that Torak cried out to the universe itself, thereby reaching for the one thing that may have truly loved him.

The gods arrive and take away Torak's body. UL, the father of the gods, agrees to allow Garion to revive Durnik, with the help of the Orb; Mara objects, but relents when Belgarath reveals that there is one Marag left alive. Aldur questions whether Polgara could be so unequally attached to a mortal while she was a Sorceress. Polgara affirms that she loves Durnik and would agree to have no power greater than he has. The gods and Belgarion use the Orb to bring Durnik back to life, but succeed only when Errand places his hand on the Orb.

Upon the company's return to Riva, Garion and Ce'Nedra plan their wedding. Polgara and Durnik are married in a private chapel in the Citadel prior to Belgarion and Ce'Nedra's ceremony in the Hall of the Rivan King. Here, Durnik reveals that he was gifted with the Will and the Word when he was brought back to life, and that Belgarath had been training him to be Aldur's newest Disciple, thereby fulfilling Polgara's wish that she have no power greater than his own. Ce'Nedra and Garion are married, dance with everyone, and then retire to their chambers.

The story ends with a half-drunk Belgarath, having finally accomplished his eons-old mission, sitting in the darkened Hall of the Rivan King later that night with a tankard of ale, as the glowing blue Orb mysteriously seems to blush pink as Garion and Ce'Nedra enter the royal bed chamber.

Universe

Book of Alorn

The Book of Alorn is an historical and semi-religious book belonging to the Alorn people in David Eddings's epic fantasy, The Belgariad. Its context includes major events from the creation of the world to the battle of Vo Mimbre, and has been used as background material for many of the Belgariad and Malloreon novels. Apparently all Alorns can recite the book, even those who have never read it, because, according to Belgarath, it is in their blood. Although Eddings bases many of his novels' prologues on the Book, he also mentions throughout his works that the Book is not completely accurate (e.g., it credits Aldur with the creation of the Orb of Aldur, whereas it predated him).

In Belgarath the Sorcerer, Belgarath hints that the Book of Alorn was written by priests (of Belar?) and that there are a number of versions (page 203, Apostate chapter of Belgarath the Sorcerer).

Book of Torak

The Book of Torak is the Angarak holy book in The Belgariad. It was apparently written by Torak himself, in first person narrative. The prologue to Enchanter's End Game was based on this particular fictional book. Like the Book of Alorn, the book of Torak narrates the major world events, but tells it from a different perspective. According to the book, it was Torak who led the gods to create the world, protagonists (such as Belgarath) are recast as villains, and the reason for Riva Iron-Grip being able to touch the Orb of Aldur (Or 'Cthrag Yaska' as it is called by Torak) is different. The book also claims that the Angaraks are in fact the good race, and that Torak is good as well.

The first several pages of the Book of Torak are printed in The Rivan Codex, David and Leigh Eddings' collection of unpublished background material and commentary on the Belgariad and Malloreon.

Supernaturalism

In the fictional world of The Belgariad and The Malloreon, there are several means to achieve supernatural feats. There is only one thing that is absolutely forbidden by the nature of the universe itself, and that is unmaking. You can destroy (incinerate), but you cannot undo the creation of something. Uncreation cannot be achieved by any means, not even by the gods or the Necessities.

Alchemy

The Melcenes, who discount the supernatural, take a scientific approach and developed alchemy. Senji is the only alchemist introduced by name, though there are others.

Demons

Demons seem to have supernatural powers, and hence are called upon by wizards to do their bidding. Their power is less than that of the gods, however, as UL bound them to Hell. Their chief aim seems to be to escape this prison. they fear the orb intensely, as is demonstrated in the mountains of Karanda when Eriond and Garion light the sky up. They all defer to "The king of Hell" a major demon. Some of them are "demon lords' so when summoned, they bring vast hordes of lesser demons.

Divination

There are two distinct types. Ulgo diviners have the ability to pass their bodies (and anything they touch) through solid rock. This is helpful in discovering caves, which is useful as they are a subterranean people. Dalasian diviners have the ability to acquire special information.

Gods

The power of gods is almost limitless. The gods in the stories are UL (Ulgos), Belar (Alorns), Torak (Angaraks), Aldur (disciples), Issa (Nyissans), Nedra (Tolnedrans), Mara (Marags[extinct, except for Taiba]) and Chaldan (Arends). Oldest is UL, the father god, then his sons Aldur, Nedra, Torak, Issa, and so on to Belar, the youngest.

Magic

Very similar to traditional fantasy magic, witches employ potions and spells to achieve certain effects. Magic can be used to prolong the lifespan, but not indefinitely like sorcerers. The only example given of a witch is Vordai. However, Belgarath uses magic to shape an illusion around the demons in Morind to control them. Beldin accuses him of being a mediocre magician as opposed to the Will and the Word.

The Necessities

The power of the two Necessities is such that if they were to meet directly, the universe would likely be destroyed. Hence they work through agents, the Child of Light and the Child of Dark, and channel some of their power through the Orb of Aldur and the Sardion to be used by them.

Necromancy

Some Dals have the ability to communicate with spirits of the dead.

Sorcery

Sorcery is the common term for the Will and the Word, which is used by the disciples of Aldur, Torak, and the most senior Grolims. Disciple sorcerers are immune to aging, with other sorcerers living extended lives.

Essentially, a sorcerer concentrates their own strength through willpower, then releases it with a word. The word itself is not important, but how the completed effect is envisioned by the sorcerer is. (Much of the training and education of sorcerers is toward expanding the power of imagination.) Sorcery requires concentration, and channeling that much power can be physically tiring, with Belgarath saying that sorcery takes just as much effort as the equivalent physical task. The uses of the Will and the Word are almost limitless. However, Garion almost kills himself by using too much power, when trying to resurrect a stillborn horse.

Sorcerers can "hear" when sorcery is used. This depends on the type of action being done (translocation is very loud), how quickly it is done (you can reduce the "volume" by prolonging the action), and proximity/skill of other Will-talented people. This sense manifests in a way very similar to real hearing, so loud noises can be used to mask the "sound" of using one's Will. Other types of supernatural power are not detectable in this way.

Wizardry

One of the least-detailed supernatural practices in the series, the wizards of the Dals, like the Seers, have a place in the Mountain of Kell, and are known to have placed an enchantment that curses Grolims who come near the city.

Witches

Oft-maligned, usually unfairly, a single witch appears in the series, though the Dals practice witchcraft as well to some degree. They appear to work by convincing spirits to do their bidding.

See also

External links


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